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Mallets Aforethought

(Home Repair is Homicide #7)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,309 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree left her high-powered career for a dilapidated fixer-upper and the dream of a quiet existence in the quaint town of Eastport, Maine. But she found that no matter how carefully you remodel your life, murder can take up residence anywhere.

It’s Eastport’s most notorious landmark: the old Harlequin House. Named for the disgraced physician Chester Harlequ
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2004)
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Showing 1-30
3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,309 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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bella Sandberg
May 22, 2009 rated it liked it
A single continuity error popped up, tempting me to list two stars, but it's not a problem in this novel, only the series. The book itself is easy to read, enjoyable, and very human in the blunders of our amateur sleuth and heroine.
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it
This one got dangerous! She should be PTSD'd out like mad
Jun 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: cozy, mystery, series, library
Mallets Aforethought by Sarah Graves is #7 in Graves' "Home Repair is Homicide" series.

It takes place in a small town in Maine and the protagonist are pair of women home repair experts: Jacobia (known as "Jake") and Ellie, friends and partners in fixing homes and solving crimes.

I had a tough time rating this one-it really is a half-star case for me: better than a 2 star "ok" but not quite a whole-hearted 3-star "I liked it." I enjoyed the location and the characters were comfortable to spend tim
msjones Jones
Mar 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
The problem with writing a very long series about murder in a very small town is that you quickly run out of characters to be killers or victims. By this book in the series, the pattern is clear--if a new character is introduced at the beginning, guess what? He/she is the killer. The mystery here was so patently obvious that it almost took the pleasure out of the read. The only thing that keeps me going is my connection to the main characters--the 10 or so central folks that appear in each book. ...more
Nov 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Disappointing. This is the 7th in the "Home Repair is Homicide" series, and based on this book, I won't be reading the others. The setting is neat (Maine), but the characters and plot are only semi-interesting, and I am very annoyed with the author's writing style; she interrupts herself (and her characters) a LOT and it makes her writing very stilted and awkward to read. An example: "'So Cory,' George went on, 'has to eliminate the ants.'" Not annoying if it were once in awhile written like tha ...more
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2008, 2011
I'm several chapters into this book and am enjoying it VERY much, in spite of the author's unfortunate overuse of certain literary devices. The story is excellent and the characters are fun and compelling. This is better than the average cozy, for sure.

The series is set in a small town in maine, which is interesting in itself, but the author doesn't make a big deal out of it; the setting runs, as it should, in the background, and the characters interact with it seamlessly. The slang and casual e
Sep 13, 2014 rated it liked it
7th book in this series - and luckily it was available at the library. The rest of the series is also at the library, so I will continue, but I hope she's got some tricks up her sleeve moving forward. The murderer was telegraphed pretty early - as another reviewer said, once a new character is introduced early it's a pretty good bet said character is the murderer. And this one was telegraphed with flashing red lights, and the story thinned out considerably from there.

Graves does a great job wit
Oct 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: cozy mystery fans
Shelves: mystery, cozy
When I picked this one up and marked it as "Currently Reading", my Goodreads list showed it as "Read", but I remembered absolutely nothing about it. I'm going back to pick up the books I've missed in this series because I do enjoy Sarah Graves' writing, the setting and the characters. I figured out who-dun-it, but I enjoyed the book anyway.
Nov 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
"Jake" and Ellie find not just one corpse, but TWO when they open a secret room in the historic house they are helping to restore. One seems to be from the 1920'2-30's but the other... far more recent!
Ellie's husband George is accused of the murder and the ladies finding themselves in the search for the killer.
May 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
I usually like the books in this series, but not this one. I finished it, but only to be sure that I know I had the right person as the killer. Weak entry.
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Another very good Sarah Graves mystery. Can't imagine how a real live person could sustain all the injuries she receives in every book, but then that is what makes it fiction. Good plot once again.
Peter Barr
Mallets Aforethoughts is the 7th in the Home Repair is Homicide series with Jacob Tiptree as the main character. She is a married woman living with her second husband and son from her first marriage in the town of Eastport, Maine with a number of family, friends and neighbors in a pretty good series. In this one, her best friend Ellie is about to have a baby and Ellie's husband is jailed for the murder of a realtor who takes advantage of old people to get control of their homes and wealth. I usu ...more
Linda C
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Jake and Ellie have volunteered to help fix up the old Harlequin mansion to use for the Historical Society gala. Behind the old wallpaper they find a sealed door and a secret room with 2 bodies, one recent and one old. Ellie's husband George had a grievance with Hector, the recent body, and becomes a prime suspect. The old one, a woman from the 20s, was the mistress of Ellie's uncle who owned the house years ago and was shot in the head. Both women start looking into both murders because of thei ...more
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not quite a 3 star rating, more like a 2.8 star

I’m surprised this book was better than the others. Granted I still kind of zoned out for a portion of the book. As well as the fact that characters just randomly popped up with no explanation and we were just to assume we should know who they are without being introduced to any of them.

This book picked up in the last 1/4, I did enjoy that and wish that the first 3/4s of the book matched it.

Ann Guanella
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good book

Love these stories, we have an old house and have built a place in a lake far from stores. So improvising is a way of life. I love the stories. They always keep you wondering who did it.
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it
In this entry in the Home Repair is Homicide series, Jake finds not one but two dead bodies - one a skeleton many many years old, along with someone from town. Someone not so well liked, and George, the husband of Jake's friend Ellie, is the prime suspect.

Well written and it flows well.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Home Repair is Homicide is a great series! You get some home repair information, a bit of history, a bit of Eastport, Maine, geographical information, and a great mystery! Caan;t wait to read the next book in the series!
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jacobia continues her sleuthing in downEast Maine with a cast of enjoyable characters. Her friend Ellie is close to giving birth while her husband is erroneously a suspect in a murder. This is a quick, can't-put-it-down lighthearted read.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The murderer was obvious very early, as were some of the motivations.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 - Very, Very Good
Lori Gronewold
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
I couldn't understand why Jake would work on house that didn't belong to her (even if was for a good cause when her house needs so much work)
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
recently decided to try to read this series in order – even the ones I know I’ve read before. The Sarah Grave books became a favorite of mine once I read the first book I bought. I lost touch somewhere along the way, but came across a new release recently and decided to catch up on the series.

You really don’t need to read the books in order to enjoy the series. While there is progression in the characters and their situations, the author explains enough in each book that you won’t be lost
Oct 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
I have enjoyed Jennie Bentley’s “Do it Yourself” mysteries and Donna Andrews Meg Langslow mysteries.
I thought I would give this series a try.
I struggled with the writing style – almost from the beginning. The writing style did not flow. I wanted to give up reading several times- but ALL of the reviews said this book was good.
One of my particularly low points was when I came across a paragraph – it went something like this---
“people stay here or leave and come back or don’t come back”
And I
I really enjoy this series and am re-reading the earlier books on and off as I come across them.

I like the protagonist, Jake Tiptree and her partner in crime solving, Ellie White. The two have a supportive relationship where they balance one another well.

This book in the series was another good one. It had an interesting premise and conclusion.

(view spoiler)
Jan C
May 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I like this series. I don't much about Maine, passed through there once when I was about 12 and my brother had a friend who had a summer job there, We were on our way to Canada.

Jacobia Tiptree is a repairing fool. Her usual partner in crime, Ellie White was extremely pregnant so on this investigation Jake had to take the lead. And the problem is the person who needed clearing is Ellie's husband who won't say where he was at the time of the murder.

And this is complicated somewhat by Jake's forme
Leslie Nagel
I was unfamiliar with Graves' DIY cozy series until I started rummaging the shelves of my local library in search of a crime scene for Victim #2. This one was perfect, since it included vintage clothing, the primary bill of fare at Charley Carpenter's shop Old Hat.

And it fit inside a closet.

". . . seated on a low wooden chair in the tiny room . . . slumped over a table, one arm outstretched, the body wore a sequined chemise whose silver hem-fringe crossed its mummified thigh . . . A candle . .
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
One of the reasons I enjoy these books so much is the fabulous narration. The reader does such a wonderful job on the voices and just the overall telling of the tale, it's very engaging. It helps that she has solid material to work with. Another good mystery from Ms. Graves - though it didn't take me as long this time to figure out "whodunit" - she's pretty good a masking the "bad guy" until the last few chapters, but I am starting to be able to pick out the clues better, the longer I'm with thi ...more
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Jacobia Tiptree mystery. Jake and her friend Ellie are part of a team working on the old Harlequin House which was reputed to be used as a hideout for gangsters during Prohibition. When stripping down some old wallpaper they discover a secret room which not only hides one body from the 1920s but a second body of a hated local real-estate mogul which was very recent. How did the body get into the sealed room and who did it? When it is found the modern day mogul was poisoned and the same poison wa ...more
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
I chose is as a disposable book to read while in the hospital, because it seemed akin to an old-fashioned Agatha Christie mystery. It fit that bill okay, but my reaction was Meh. It didn't help that I figured out the culprit almost as soon as that character was introduced. Still, if you're in the mood for an escapist and rather violent mystery, this might appeal to you especially if you don't mind skimping on realism.
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bodies stack up early in this mystery when Jake & Ellie find the body of a woman who died many years ago along with the body of the most hated person in Eastport. All of these and others were not of native Eastporters. Otherwise, the population of the town would be significantly lower. Jake stumbles on some of the reasons for the murders and bumbles her way through the rest of it. A few house repair hints round out this latest adventure.
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Sarah Graves lives with her husband John, a musician and luthier, and their black Labrador Retriever in a house very much like the one Jacobia Tiptree is remodeling in Eastport, Maine. When she's not writing Jake's adventures, Sarah works with her husband on the house and she plays the 5-string banjo.

Librarian’s note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Other books in the series

Home Repair is Homicide (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • The Dead Cat Bounce (Home Repair is Homicide, #1)
  • Triple Witch (Home Repair is Homicide, #2)
  • Wicked Fix (Home Repair is Homicide, #3)
  • Repair to Her Grave (Home Repair is Homicide, #4)
  • Wreck the Halls (Home Repair is Homicide, #5)
  • Unhinged (Home Repair is Homicide, #6)
  • Tool and Die (Home Repair is Homicide, #8)
  • Nail Biter (Home Repair is Homicide, #9)
  • Trap Door (Home Repair is Homicide, #10)
  • The Book of Old Houses (Home Repair is Homicide, #11)
“life is risk. The only choice is, are you the taker or the taken?” 0 likes
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